DEARBORN — While U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) is endorsing State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn) for mayor, the Police Officers Association of Dearborn (POAD) is indirectly endorsing the candidate.
Originally, the POAD had chosen to not endorse a candidate for mayor. However, following recent social media posts regarding Chief Ronald Haddad’s endorsement of Gary Woronchak, the POAD chose to respond, indirectly supporting Hammoud.
“The Police Officers Association of Dearborn elected to pass on the endorsement of a mayoral candidate in the general election,” POAD’s Facebook post read. “However, our union, which represents 142 corporals and officers, has had lengthy conversations with each mayoral candidate. We find both to be genuine and capable candidates. Police officers understand all too well what sacrifice and service mean, and to the two candidates in the general election — we honor your effort and willingness to serve in the great city of Dearborn.”
With a majority of the police officers in the department having been born and raised in Dearborn, the post said that the remainder of the officers chose Dearborn because they recognize that Dearborn stands above the rest.
The only ‘ask’ that the Dearborn Police Officers had for the two mayoral candidates during our meetings was that we move on from Chief Haddad’s unremarkable period of management and let us return to the police work that we all know and the citizens value. The kind of police work that best services our citizens and officers alike. We are tired of unsafe staffing levels for our officers and residents. — Police Officers Association of Dearborn
“We thank our residents for that; we are truly humbled by the consistent support we feel and receive from our community,” the post read. “Without this support, we couldn’t have the generational success that we have had. That being said, we must respond to some of the criticism that has been directed at us. We recognize that many residents feel that we are not in the neighborhoods as often as we should be. We agree with you. We want to return to neighborhood policing in the way that has been successfully done in the past.”
The post went on to say that the department has significantly downsized.
“However, since 2008 (the year Chief Ron Haddad took over) we have gone from 118 officers assigned to the patrol division down to 72 in 2021,” the post read. “This de-emphasis on patrol work, coupled with the elimination of selective traffic enforcement and Special Operations units, has had a tangible effect on neighborhood patrol and patrol operations. So, when you and your neighbors say that you just don’t see a patrol car like you used to, that is indeed true.”
With 118 officers for 94,000 residents in 2008 and 72 officers for 110,000 in 2021, the post said that the concerns had been brought forward to the current administration.
“This information has been relayed time and again to Mayor O’Reilly and his staff — including Chief Haddad — in surveys, negotiations, one on one meeting and the pleading of line officers and supervisors alike,” the post read. “To be clear, this NEVER has been a call for hiring more officers, this has been a plea for an appropriate distribution of manpower back to patrol operations. The only ‘ask’ that the Dearborn Police Officers had for the two mayoral candidates during our meetings was that we move on from Chief Haddad’s unremarkable period of management and let us return to the police work that we all know and the citizens value. The kind of police work that best services our citizens and officers alike. We are tired of unsafe staffing levels for our officers and residents.”
The post ended with the statement that only one of the candidates heard their pleas.
“This request appears to have been heard by one candidate, but ignored by another,” the post read. “We need to move away from management over leadership, smoke and mirrors over substance and politics over police work. Make sure you ask the candidates what they will do to restore patrol staffing numbers and move on from the forgettable period of philosophy in policing.”
In a Facebook post, Hammoud said that his campaign was excited to earn Dingell’s endorsement.
“Congresswoman Dingell and I have worked for years on many core issues impacting the residents of Dearborn, from air quality to infrastructure,” the post read. “She has been and will continue to be a strong partner in this work.”